The govea, also called hovea, is a palm that is very popular among florists. It is not very demanding when growing in the room, making it suitable for both experienced flower growers and beginners. All you need for its proper growth and development is warmth and enough light.
Peculiarities of govea
Cultivating govea began back in the Victorian era, with its cultivation in manor houses, decorating spacious halls as well as in palaces. An interesting fact is that in nature this plant is found only on Lord Howe Island, which belongs to Australia.
This genus is considered part of the Palm family, and it unites only 2 species. In natural conditions, the height of such a plant can reach up to 12-15 m. When growing in room conditions, the height of such a palm often does not exceed three meters, but it also happens that in a spacious hall the plant grows up to five meters in height, but this is quite rare.
This palm is single-tree, on its upper part is formed a large number of stems, on which are large pinnately dissected leaf plates. Cultivated under room conditions, while young, the hovea forms a large number of root shoots.
As it matures, however, it forms a single, powerful trunk. It differs in a very slow growth, during the year it grows only 2 or 3 new leaf plates. If properly taken care of and provided with proper growing conditions then this plant will endure for several decades.
How to care for Hovea palm?
Hovea home care
Hovea is quite easy to grow at home. It is among the most unpretentious palms.
Minor mistakes in care will not be able to cause it any noticeable harm. But if you want it to grow very beautiful and lush, you must make sure to take good care of it as well as provide it with optimal growing conditions.
When choosing a location for the govea, consider that it can grow well in the shade as well as in direct sunlight. However, young shrubs should be protected from the scorching rays of the sun. An adult palm can grow well in bright light, but direct sunlight should not affect the plant for long periods.
The govea grows best in a location that is well lit, but the light should always be diffused. The palm grows well on a northeast, southeast or north windowsill. If desired the plant can be placed in the back of the room, but in the shade is not recommended to place it because of the scarce light it will begin to wither. In summertime you can take it outdoors but choose a place that is well protected from the scorching sun.
In summertime the palm grows best in warm temperatures (23 to 27 degrees).
The palm can also grow well in a warmer room, but in this case it should be moistened systematically with a sprayer and ventilated frequently. During the winter months the plant has a dormant period and at this time it should be at a temperature of 15 to 18 degrees.
The culture is not afraid of short frosts as well as small frosts (up to minus 5 degrees), but only if the root system is well insulated. Otherwise, if the bush will stay in the frost for 3 to 5 days, it will lead to its death. Abrupt changes in temperature at night and daytime can not do much harm to the plant either.
However, do not abuse it, it is better if the plant experiences as little stress as possible.
Growing in room conditions, the govee has no special requirements for air humidity. Experts recommend, in the summertime on hot days, to humidify the crown of the palm. In winter months it is recommended to put it as far away as possible from heating devices. If the humidity level is very low (less than 30%), then near the hovea must be placed open container filled with water.
If the plant stays in a room with very dry air for a long time, it can start to dry out. If the humidity in the room is too high (greater than 70%) for a long time, this may lead to stem rot.
Palmas need regular, plentiful watering. Make sure that the top layer of potting soil is slightly damp all the time. However, do not allow liquid to stand stagnant in the root system as this can lead to rotting of the root system and stem.
In summertime, watering should be more frequent (4 to 6 times per 7 days). In winter, the bush is watered only after the top layer of substrate in the pot dries up, but in no case allow the ground ball to dry out. For watering, it is best to use water at room temperature, which must first be well settled (it can be passed through a filter). Rain water or melt water are excellent.
Fertilize the govea only in spring and summer and use either a compound mineral fertilizer for deciduous indoor plants or palm trees.
Fertilizing should be done once or twice a month. If you like, you can feed the plant on its leaves and do this by watering. Experienced growers recommend alternating these methods. To fertilize on the leaves use a solution of fertilizer of low concentration. Before applying the product for the first time, be sure to carefully read the instructions on the package.
Transplanting a hovea
As long as the palm is young, it should be transplanted every year. As the root system grows, the size of the container should be increased. Once it is 5 years old, it can be replanted once every 2 to 4 years. However, you should take into account that the soil mixture is gradually depleted and it must be replaced with a fresh nutrient over time. The palm should be transplanted in spring, but if absolutely necessary it can also be done in autumn.
For transplanting it is best to use a purchased soil mixture for room palms. If you want to make it and your own hands, for this you need to combine leaf and turf soil, humus, river sand and peat in a ratio of 2:2:1:1:1. To enrich the substrate, it is recommended to pour a small amount of wood ash and bark. Do not forget to first make a layer of drainage at the bottom of the pot before planting by using crushed rock, ceramic shards, brick chips or expanded clay.
Hovea transplanting and home care
Growing from seed
Hovea can be propagated by seed and bush division.
However, it is almost impossible to get seeds from a hovea because it does not flower under room conditions. However, if you want seed can be bought in a store, but you need to take into account that their germination will not exceed 50 percent. If you do manage to get seedlings they will become beautiful palms only after 2 or 3 years.
When transplanting, if necessary cut off a young shoot from the stem and plant it in a mixture of sand and peat. Be prepared, however, that the cuttings will not take root.
If it does give roots, it will be possible to plant it in a permanent pot with nutritious soil mixture only after 2-3 months.
The easiest option is to buy a new palm from a nursery.
Diseases and pests
Mites, thrips and scale, and in rare cases mealybugs may settle on the hovea. If liquid stagnates in the soil mixture, gray or black rot can affect the plant. Both diseases and pests can be eliminated by using special preparations sold in specialist stores.
In order to prevent pests, the bush should be inspected systematically, paying particular attention to the underside of the leaf plates. Also check the substrate regularly and closely; if a grey or white patina appears on the substrate it may be due to mealybugs or fungus.
- If brown or yellow spots appear on the leavesthese may be due to too low an air moisture level or sun burns.
- Tip curlingcan be caused by very cold or drafty temperatures.
- Drooping lower leavesmay be due to fluid retention in the root system.
- White leaf depositwhen pests are infesting the plant.
- Wilting and shedding of the lower leaves is most often due to lack of nutrients.
- Very slow growth and faded foliageis a sign of very poor light.
Hovea differs from other members of the Palm family not only in that it can only be found in nature on one island, but also in that it has very few varieties. In many regions with warm and mild climate this palm is grown outside and successfully propagated artificially.
But in colder climates it is cultivated only indoors.
You can decorate your house with either of the two types of Howea:
Growing in nature the plant can reach up to 10 to 12 m (sometimes even higher). The dark green, beautifully curved leaf laminae can reach 2 to 2.5 m in length. Each of the dead leaves leaves leaves a circular mark on the surface of the trunk, which extends downward.
The luxuriant crown has an emerald hue. Indoors, this palm differs from the wild type only in its height, which can grow to 2-2.5 m.
This species differs from the previous one in being taller. Under natural conditions, such a plant can reach a height of 13 to 15 m.
Long petioles are formed in the upper part of the straight trunk, on which large pinnately dissected leaf plates grow, and they are colored bright green. Adult palms can have leaf blades up to four meters long. When grown in room conditions, the height of the shrub can reach 3-3.5 m.
Hovea grown in home conditions does not bloom.
Only palm trees grown outdoors or in a greenhouse bloom.
Hovea palm ( Kentia). Unpretentious palms for the apartment.